Does this seem like a virus threat?
April 11, 2012 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I purchased some software recently from a company designed to help create an 8949 form for stock trades. It seemed that it was improperly calculating a few numbers, and upon my questioning the software creator asked for my trading history to review the data and look for errors. He then sent me a .piz file and asked that I rename it to a .zip file and open it for a properly functioning program. My limited understanding is that " if you receive a piz file in an email and you are not familiar with the person who is sending it or are unsure of why they are sending it, do not change it to a zip file and try opening it. This could result in infecting your system with a computer virus." Are their legitimate reasons why he should be sending a piz file and asking me to rename it?
posted by dougiedd to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Because most e-mail servers block all .zip file attachments by default, so people rename them arbitrarily to getaround that. This guy is know to you, right? You bought software from him?

It isn't exactly elegant, but you should be fine.
posted by Oktober at 12:23 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Their or your email server is probably stripping .zip files automatically, and the rename avoids that.

Do you know and trust them? This seems like a very low risk.
posted by ellF at 12:23 PM on April 11, 2012

You sent him your stock trade data. I hope you trust him.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:25 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

If you bought and ran a program from him, then you've already given him more trust than renaming and expanding a zip file.

Under other circumstances, yes, this might be weird behavior. But if you're sure it's the same company, you have already trusted them to a much greater degree.
posted by Malor at 12:27 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Presumably you have some sort of antivirus/malware-detecting software you could use to scan the file before renaming and opening it? If not, this would be an excellent time to get some.
posted by telophase at 1:05 PM on April 11, 2012

If you're really concerned you can run the program in a virtual machine and wipe it afterwards.
posted by odinsdream at 1:27 PM on April 11, 2012

posted by dougiedd at 2:29 PM on April 11, 2012

I do this all the time with my clients for the exact reason of servers stripping zip files.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 6:46 AM on April 12, 2012

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